Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Conversations with my Mother

As you know, my mother is in town. It's actually been a lot of fun for everyone. Even the cats are happy. (She tends to remember to water them more frequently than my 2 and 4 year-old.) Anyway, I love my mother. I laugh harder with her than almost anyone I know. Since I was younger, I mostly took it upon myself to clue her in to the fact that the moment actually requires laughter. Yesterday, however, we went shopping together, and it became clear to me that we are, in fact, genetically linked. (Please. Who doesn't secretly suspect adoption?) With age, they say, comes clarity. For me, clarity is the realization that when you laugh at your mother, you are laughing...[dramatic pause] at yourself.

Scene: In a shoe store at the mall, looking for shoes for BlogHer. (Yes, really. Shut up.)

Her: [Holding up a pair of shoes.] You like these?

Me: Nah. I need something brown, mom. The dress has navy in it.

Her: Ah, okay. [Rifling through the sales rack and pulling out a pair by the straps.] What about these?

Me: [Eyeballing them without enthusiasm.] Eh.

Her: Why not? They're sassparillas! They're perfect for summer...

Me: [Don't laugh. Don't laugh. OMG Don't laugh.] Mom. Sarsaparilla? Sarsaparilla is like...a soda.

Her: No... [Defiant smirk.]

Me: Espadrilles, mom. [Uncontainable laughter.] They're called espadrilles.

Her: Oh, just shush it.

(Later, as I'm writing this documentary, I call to my husband to help stir up my memory embers. "Didn't I recently call something by the wrong name?" He looks at me with comic pity. "No, really. Don't I do that sometimes?" He sighs, "Yes, wife, you're doing it right now. You don't do it sometimes. You do it aaaallll the time." I scowl defiantly, "Oh, just SHUSH IT.")

Scene: Driving home from the mall, my mother looking out the window at the Texas...um, scenery, I guess.

Me: [Mumbling indecipherably about traffic.]

Her: [Reading a billboard, talking to herself.] "Carpal...Tunnel..."

Me: [Sideways glance.]

Her: [Still reading.] "No stitches"? [Disbelieving.] Huh.

Me: Mom? Why is this...?

Her: [Still talking to herself.] Psht. It'll still hurt like hell...

Me: I don't...even...

Her: "Hooters"!

(When my husband drives, I often find myself reading random road signs aloud. With dramatic flair and irony, of course. But still. It's a compulsion. I try to suppress it.)


Me: [Reacting to hostile, maniacal, definitely-worse-than-New-York-drivers-driver cutting me off.] Jesus!

Her: [Sucking her teeth at the other driver.] You'd think if he cut you off, he'd step on it a bit.

Me: Yeah...well...

Her: He needs to come up to New York and learn how to drive!

Me: Mom, stop.

Her: He thinks just because he's driving a...[squinting] Hyundai, that...

Me: Mom. That's a Honda.

Her: Yeah, well, whatever.

Me: We need to work on your insults, mom.

(My repertoire of insults includes...well...[sigh]...bastard...buttface...and...jerky. And when I'm feeling especially clever, I call people simple nouns, but with a really harsh tone, like, "You....DRIVER!" I suppose no more needs to be said about that.)

Anyway, I'm not so sure how I feel about these self-realizations. I'm thinking we'll need to limit visits from my mother in the future.